Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Slow Club: Yeah, So

Written by Brady Walker
 Active Image I guess with the Internet and all, one could say there’s been a resurgence in just about anything, probably just because now we can more easily find all those Malian klezmer death metal fusion bands out there. But let’s face facts and admit that the boy-girl singing duo is a herpetic trend, and we are experiencing a flare-up.

   

I guess with the Internet and all, one could say there’s been a resurgence in just about anything, probably just because now we can more easily find all those Malian klezmer death metal fusion bands out there. But let’s face facts and admit that the boy-girl singing duo is a herpetic trend, and we are experiencing a flare-up.

Not to say that it’s a bad thing. Remember our last flare-up in the late ’80s? We got the Vaselines, Pixies, and X. And now we have such bands as the inimitable Broken Social Scene, The White Stripes, the New Pornographers, and, for better or worse, She & Him. Slow Club, like earlier Scottish bands that don't require mentioning, is a welcome addition to the fold.

The British duo, made up of Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor, sing pretty much every song on the album together, either harmonizing or trading off. As a listener, you feel like you get to witness the songwriters, elated with the energy of this new song they wrote together. You can hear them smiling in each other’s direction, like “Yeah, this is pretty good.”

And they’re not wrong. While this is not the place to look for difficult to grasp melodies or strange timbres, they do amazing things with pop song energy without ever turning to the too easy and too often employed technique of throwing some random electropop element into the mix just to make things sound “untraditional.” They occasionally give one the impression of a well-produced, completely unironic Moldy Peaches (which, I guess, since Moldy Peaches embodied irony, that’s a hard comparison to reach for).

The album opens with the sweet, quiet “When I Go,” which is one of the only instances of a back and forth in which Watson and Taylor sing to each other, and the song, with its theme following the romantic comedy trope of two best friends agreeing to marry when they become each other’s last option, diffuses the romantic tension a listener might search for in a song featuring male and female singers. The second song, “Giving Up On Love”  further sweeps romantic tension under the rug as the duo triumphantly croon in unison “I’m giving up on love!” as though they were just two in a collective of anti-romantics.

Though that’s not the case. If ever there were a couple of heartbroken romantics, it’s these two. They wear their yearning hearts right there on their guitar straps, those dreamy artistic ideals of lonely teenagers that, as lonely twentysomethings, they have to come to terms with no one being able to live up to.

This is most evident in a song like “There Is No Good Way To Say I Am Leaving You” when Watson sings “You used to write / You used to paint / You don’t say why you stopped / Or if you’ll start again” or in their closing magnum opus, “Our Most Brilliant Friends”: “But we don’t get a world and we don’t get a life / Where all our most brilliant friends are doubting themselves.”

Even in the title of the album Yeah, So, we see Slow Club’s prerogative to hold onto the smugness, the chutzpah of youth. The days when we rolled our eyes at whomever cast doubt on our pipe dreams, and we knew that the next song from our favorite band would be enough to give life some meaning.

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